7 qualities of highly successful pediatric nurses

MERCYHEALTH Urbana Hospital nurses (left) Sandy Hess and Tricia Blanken look over baby Faith Tuttle and her mother Heidi. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

Whether you're thinking of becoming a pediatric nurse or you're already taking care of young patients, you'll need to have certain qualities to be as successful as possible at your job. Some of these traits apply to nurses in general but are particularly essential for pediatric nurses, while others are specific to nurses who are treating young patients.

The following seven qualities are some of the ones you'll need to have to be a successful pediatric nurse:


An extra degree of patience may be needed as you treat uncooperative children, according to careerstint.com. They may be frightened and resist treatment, and their family members may also need an extra dose of patience as they worry about their children.

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Getting along well with kids

Pediatric nurses will, of course, need to get along well with and genuinely like kids. You'll need to have a natural rapport with your younger patients to make their treatment easier, according to Wolters Kluwer, and be able to develop some clever techniques to help distract them and keep them calm.

Good communication skills

Pediatric nurses share information with doctors and patients, so they must be good communicators, according to careerstint.com. You'll need to be able to communicate with young children as you gather information from them (which isn't always easy) and explain things in an age-appropriate way. As you provide care, information and support to children and their parents, you'll be able to help make sure that everyone stays as calm and supportive as possible.

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It's possible for any nurse to become overwhelmed and burned out and this is especially true of pediatric nurses, according to healthworkscollective.com. After all, you're dealing with trying circumstances over and over as you see children sick or in pain, so you may be more likely to become emotionally and mentally overwhelmed. You'll need to take care of yourself mentally and physically in order to do your best work for your patients and ensure your own well-being.


Although you need to maintain a certain professional distance, it's important to be empathetic. A cold attitude isn't appealing, even if you're having a bad day. Being warm and sympathetic toward children and their families will help them be more comfortable with you as well as with their situation, healthworkscollective.com said.

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Critical thinking skills

Since very young patients often can't explain how they're feeling, pediatric nurses need to have excellent critical thinking skills, according to nursingjobs.com. Kids may be scared or distracted, so it can be difficult to get clear answers to questions about their symptoms. You'll need to be able to get the information you need – including what you glean from the children's families – despite the challenges.

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Even when children are sick, nurses can bring a little playfulness into their lives to help relax them. Fun distractions and a playful manner can help make children more at ease, and nurses at allnurses.com recommend songs, games and items like small stuffed animals that can cling to a stethoscope.